First Among Equals


My beach on Staniel Cay. Is it fair to say alcohol took it from me? Is it fair?

I reconnected with a couple of women from Staniel Cay recently. They both admitted they had always been worried about me and my drinking. Unbeknownst to me, one of them is a long time recovering alcoholic who had hosted AA meetings at her house. She said there were many times she would have liked to invite me, but she just didn’t think I was ready (perhaps because I regularly fell off barstools at The Yacht Club, drove my golf cart onto the big, decorative rock at the entrance and went to sleep with my head on the shoulders of obliging locals?).

I was telling this to a friend on the phone yesterday. She said (because she’s kind), You weren’t that bad. You were always nice.”

So I wasn’t a mean drunk after all?

I reminded her that the last time she was in Staniel, I drove to the local pub drunk, fell out of the golf cart onto the ground and attempted to crawl to Big Dog’s Bar for another drink. The only reason I didn’t arrive for a nightcap on my hands and knees is that my boyfriend at the time suggested it was unseemly and that I should probably go home. After causing a scene as several men attempted to lift my dead weight out of a gutter, hissing, “I’m FINE”, I passed out limply in the passenger seat of the cart, leaving my friend to drive us home.


Blue Heaven: it was the best of times it was the worst of times…

She had no idea how to get to my house and I kept waking to her entreaties and slurring incomprehensible directions (“GO LEFT!”) until, because it was a small island, she found Blue Heaven by happenstance.

In the morning I didn’t remember much. A black hole with only a vague feeling of unease and bruised shins. I pretended to remember that I had fallen and that I had left her to drive in unfamiliar territory. I pretended to remember to be sorry.

I guess all this reminiscing has me drawing conclusions I do not like. On an island of hard drinking misfits with few rules, it seems I was first among equals. An embarrassment to be explained to tourists… The crazy white woman on the hill, who came and left Staniel Cay with the unfathomable fury and fleetingness of a tropical storm…

Today I’m not drinking because I’m so sorry.

How come you’re not drinking?